Daily Archives: December 18th, 2015

New York City, Day 3

steinway

 

We checked out pretty early from the Airbnb.  Neither of the hosts were there so we left the key on the counter and took our luggage over to Michael’s.

Breakfast/brunch today was at Koyzina Kafe,

From there, we took an Uber to the interim Steinway Hall.  Michael and I were the last people ever to play at the last Steinway Hall, in the main room.  We played a 2-piano version of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.   I’m sorry that the video quality is so poor:

That first time, Michael played Mozart’s Rondo in D Major, also poor quality video 😦

Fortunately, the new Steinway Hall, when completed, will have built-in professional recording.

Adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steinway_Hall:

That Steinway Hall (on 57th Street) was designated a registered historic and cultural landmark in 2001. The exterior featured a bas-relief of Apollo and a musical muse by Leo Lentelli located in the lunette above the grand window at ground level.

The main room, a two-story rotunda, featured high domed ceilings, handpainted by Paul Arndt. The interior design was appointed with marble and portraits of composers and concert artists. Some valuable paintings are showcased throughout Steinway Hall, by such renowned artists as Rockwell Kent, N.C. Wyeth, Leopold Seyffert and Charles Chambers. The main rotunda seated up to 300 guests and a small symphony orchestra. The showrooms were covered with wood panels for better acoustics. In the basement of Steinway Hall was a concert grand piano bank: an exclusive collection of Steinway concert grand pianos, maintained for the use in live concerts as well as for studio recordings by performing artists.

At the end of June 2013 Steinway & Sons announced that they sold the leasehold interest in the Steinway Hall on 57th Street for $46.3 million in cash.

The current, interim location is a rented building on the address 1133 Avenue of the Americas.

They will move to their new, permanent location in February, 2016

We got to our location faster than expected and walked around the block.  I was stunned when we saw Cafe Un Deux Trois!

un-deux

 

Cafe Un Deux Trois has a special memory for me.  November 2, 2003, Michael decided to run the New York Marathon.  We went to NY to see him run.  (He finished in 4:21:57.  The average for males that year was 4:28:56).

marathon

From good-old Wikipedia:

The New York City Marathon (branded TCS New York City Marathon and formerly branded ING New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is an annual marathon (42.195 km or 26.219 mi) that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest marathon in the world, with 50,304 finishers in 2013. Along with the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors.

My best friend, Alice, and her brother (David) were living in Brooklyn and they decided to meet us in Manhattan on Saturday night.  Michael and a friend went to a comedy show while Alice, David, Tom and I walked around Times Square, just talking.  We turned down a side street and saw… Cafe Un Deux Trois.  We decided to go in to eat.

I remember nothing about the meal.  But, at the next table was Ben Gazzara,  Gena Rowlands, Peter Bogdanovitch and 3-4 others I didn’t recognize.  After about half an hour, Carol Kane came in, too.  It turned out that Ben Gazzara was in a one man show across the street which had just opened: Nobody Don’t Like Yogi.  All this made the meal very exciting.  

For the last several years, every time we’ve been near Times Square, I’ve looked down the side streets for this restaurant and never saw it again until this day.

A very nice memory of Alice.

When we got back to Steinway Hall, the doors were opened and we went up to the recital room.  A friend of Tom’s came to listen, too.

Michael played Partita II by Johann Sebastian Bach

Our duet this year was an old Christmas favorite, Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams

After Steinway Hall, we went to Tony’s di Napoli for lunch, Then rested for a bit at Michael’s.

We planned to go to a museum but were running short of time so we walked around Battery Park, took a picture…

t-m-world-trade

Took a picture of the Wall Street Christmas Tree at dusk:

 

wall-street-tree

Then we picked up our stuff at Michael’s, took the subway to Penn Station and headed home, exhausted.

Walking today: 4.19 miles, 6 flights of stairs

Where the pictures were taken (I didn’t take pictures everywhere and Tom didn’t have his phone):

weekend

 

 

maryOpianoplayer

New York City, Day 2

Busy day!

We planned to meet Michael about 9:30 for breakfast so we got up early (for me, on a Saturday).  I had a bit of a headache and puffy eyes from the fabric softener – made a note to take Benadryl before bed – and I found my contact case.  No more using the SD card holder.  Progress!

I left our door open a bit while we were getting ready and one of the dogs wanted to come in.

On our way out, we met Candace, our other host, and talked to her for a few minutes.  She was getting ready to take the dogs to visit her parents for the day.  The night before, Paul had said that parking the car cost about $400 a month and the only thing that they used it for was going to her parents twice a month.  Expensive trip.

We started walking to Michael’s and he met us about 2/3 of the way over.  We stopped at Open Kitchen for breakfast, then briefly to Michael’s for a bit of planning.  We wanted to take the ferry to DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).  That’s  a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.  I’d never been to Brooklyn before, only through it, so this sounded like fun.

To get ferry tickets, Michael had to download an app.  Modern times!  At least, he didn’t have to print out paper tickets.  I am surprised – at all the venues we have been to in New York, only The 39 Steps had paperless admission.

After the ferry tickets were purchased, they couldn’t be activated until 20 minutes before boarding.   If activated too soon, they would expire. Very interesting.

ferry

We walked from Michael’s apartment to the Wall Street Pier/Pier 11 and waited a bit for our ferry.  A couple sightseeing boats went out, and several helicopters.

The whole trip was only about 11 minutes but it’s always nice being on the water 🙂  Just after we disembarked, I got this great picture of the New York skyline.

nyc-skyline

 

One of the first things we noticed while still on the boat was a building that looked like an old lighthouse.  Turned out to be the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory now. The building was formerly used to berth fireboats and dry firehoses, hence the tall tower.  The lines were very long so we went later in the afternoon.

icecream

 

Michael knew about the Brooklyn Bridge Park, so we walked around there.  On the map, the portion of the park we saw was the green area between the Bargemusic and the Manhattan Bridge Lower Roadway.

The first building we noticed on our walk was St. Ann’s Warehouse.  We had no idea what it was but it seemed to be an historic building turned into shopping.  I learned later that this  was converted into a venue for classical music in 1980.

There were several interesting historic signs about the pathway and we walked past Jane’s Carousel.

We passed the huge OY/YO sculpture.

yo

 

If you’re in the park facing the Manhattan skyline, the sculpture reads “OY,” a commonly used Yiddish expression.

But if you’re viewing the sculpture from across the river in Manhattan or along the river like we were, it reads “YO.”

Our goal was the Brooklyn Bridge Park Environmental Education Center.  This was a very interesting place although from the outside it seemed to be for children only.  The tables had drawers that pulled out so that different layers of the river could be seen,  Anyone interested in learning about the ecology of the park and the kinds of plants and animals that thrive here would find this fascinating.

chocolate

All this walking made us hungry so on the way, we stopped for chocolate at Jacques Torres Chocolate.  Apparently, the DUMBO location is their first:

Visit the place where it all started. Jacques’ first location offers handmade chocolate treats, hot chocolate, and ice cream sandwiches. From truffles to cookies to bonbons and more, we’ll help you sample your favorite flavors to bring home and share with everyone!

Jacques Torres is located:66 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

We started out with Michael choosing 2 pieces of chocolate, then me…then we ended up with a box.  Plus water, to make it all healthy.

A very interesting shot.  If you look through the bottom of the Manhattan Bridge, you can see the Empire State Building.

Empire-State-Manhattan-Bridge

For lunch, we went to an “Italian Place”, AlMar.  This is in quotes because it ended up not being lunch and not being Italian food.  Here’s the brunch menu.  They had HUGE coffee cups – I liked that a lot 🙂

coffee

 

After brunch, back to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for ice cream (DUH).  1 scoop was more than enough – I couldn’t finish it.

Then, we went to Bargemusic.  This is a classical music venue and cultural icon founded in 1977,  housed on a converted coffee barge moored at Fulton Ferry Landing on the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge.  I took this picture of the NY skyline and Steinway piano from the second row seating.

bargemusic

 

On Saturday afternoons at 4, Bargemusic is free!  Such a deal.  The nighttime performances cost a bit but still reasonable.

Founder and director, Olga Bloom was interviewed about the floating concert hall under the Brooklyn Bridge she converted from an old coffee barge. The video includes excerpts from one of the chamber music concerts typical of the Bargemusic programs, and features classical music artists, Ida Levin, violin, Anton Nel, piano, Thomas Hill, clarinet, Ronald Thomas, cello. A Greenpoint Video Project production. Supported through a grant from NYCEF, New York State Council on the Arts.

One of our performers was Mark Peskanov, Bargemusic President, Executive & Artistic Director.  He talked a little about the program, about Bargemusic in general, and introduced the pianist and cellist for today.  Each played a Bach solo and the 3 played  Piano Trio No.4, Op.90 by Antonín Dvořák.  Here, it’s played by another trio:

We were all ready for naptime so we Ubered back to Michael’s apartment.  A bit of napping, practicing, then out to the subway to go to the Lincoln Center to see Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet.

From http://www.nycballet.com/Ballets/N/George-Balanchine-s-The-Nutcracker.aspx

During the holiday period, the entire Company is immersed in activities surrounding George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. All 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands and two casts of 50 young students each from the School of American Ballet join forces to make each performance as magical as possible. Children of all ages from New York City and the nation fill the David H. Koch Theater to be captivated by the lure of Tschaikovsky’s music, Balanchine’s choreography, Karinska’s sumptuous costumes, and Rouben Ter-Arutunian’s magical sets. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, based on the Alexandre Dumas pere version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1816), demands a full-scale production.

The elaborate stage elements and intricate lighting unleash the viewers’ imagination by providing visual effects that are extraordinarily grand. The most famous example is the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a height of 12 feet to 40 feet, evoking audible gasps of disbelief from the audience at each performance. Other notable feats include the comic figure of Mother Ginger — 85 pounds and nine feet wide, the costume requires handling by three people once it is lowered by pulley over the dancer’s head — as well as the continuous flutter of the purest, crystal-shaped snowflakes (which are swept up and conserved after each performance for reuse).

While these technical achievements are wonderful fun, it is Balanchine’s choreography that sustains the ballet through two acts. Act I introduces the characters — the Stahlbaum children, Marie and Fritz, Herr Drosselmeier and his Nephew — and also begins the transition from reality into fantasy with the concluding Snowflake Waltz. Act II offers the complete transformation. We have entered the “Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy” and there is no turning back.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is one of the most complex theatrical, staged ballets in the Company’s active repertory. The popularity of the ballet is immense and it provides an unforgettable spark to everyone’s holiday season.

Seeing this ballet meant that we had been in all of the Lincoln Center venues.

  • David Geffen Hall (formerly Philharmonic Hall and Avery Fisher Hall): a 2,738-seat symphony hall; the home stage of the New York Philharmonic.
  • Metropolitan Opera House: a 3,900-seat opera house; the home stage of the Metropolitan Opera; as well as List Hall.
  • David H. Koch Theater (formerly New York State Theater): a 2,586-seat theater; constructed to be the home of the New York City Ballet, it is also the former home of the New York City Opera and the Music Theater of Lincoln Center companies.
  • Damrosch Park: an outdoor amphitheater with a bowl-style stage known as the Guggenheim Band Shell; used for free Lincoln Center Out of Doors presentations and with a special dance floor for Midsummer Night Swing.  The Big Apple Circus is also here.
  • Josie Robertson Plaza: the center’s central plaza, featuring its iconic fountain; the three main buildings (Metropolitan Opera House, David Geffen Hall, and David H. Koch Theater) face onto this plaza; used as an outdoor venue during Lincoln Center Out of Doors presentations

From there, we walked to Il Violino for dinner.  One would think that they had a musical theme but they didn’t.

Apparently, they were in a movie, sort of.  We were sitting at the table that appears about 2:32:

Another Uber back home.  On the way, there was a huge fire with about 15 fire trucks, causing a major traffic slowdown.

According to my phone, we walked 4.3 miles today and up 6 flights of stairs.

 

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